An Equation for Inspiration

We all consume massive quantities of creative ideas daily. Every piece of content that makes it to us is either carefully curated by editorial experts or, increasingly, floated to the top of our social feeds by the millions who consumed it before us.

While the baseline competency to recognize what is creative should have risen purely by exposure, it also means that it is getting harder and harder to cut through the noise for us as communications professionals to drive the change we want to create.

Picking up from where our analysis of the award winners at Cannes left off, our final internal panel discussion of 2017 on inspirational campaigns from around the world arrived at the same underlying tenet. While creativity is all well and good, true inspiration should go beyond just grabbing attention, but to drive action.

As we turn towards 2018, is there a way we can institutionalize inspiration in the campaigns we propose?

Institutionalizing Inspiration

It certainly seems possible. Our discussions around internationally inspiring campaigns, independent of geography, language or intent, seems to point towards a simple four-point check list for what works – E=mc2.

  • Emotional

Will your idea strike an emotional cord? Campaigns like ‘Meet Graham’, a road safety project for Australia’s Transport Accident Commission gained so much traction around the world because the image of Graham creates a visceral reaction of alarm transcending language or culture. Within days of the launch, the campaign became a global phenomenon, attracting more than 10.4 million page views for the website in less than a week.

  • Measurable

We can’t escape metrics. Good campaigns might be lauded for their creativity, but great campaigns are the ones demonstrating the fulfilment of the business objectives at the end of the day. A stronger business case can be made for PR only if we can reveal the change we are tasked to create.

  • Capitalize

Much like riding a wave, knowing how and when to capitalize on a right moment – and building the flexibility for a campaign to do so – is essential. When a Chevrolet spokesperson caught a bad case of nerves and truncated the long list of features in a new tech-loaded model into just “technology and stuff”, Chevy was quick on their feet to run with the unintended new tagline on social media and even for its ad campaign. Over the next four days, Chevy steered the conversation to deliver 63 million impressions and increasing purchase interest three-fold.

  • Captivating

Here is where big ideas come in. Think of all the media you consumed at the end of the day – how much can you actually remember and in what detail? With content creatively packaged to make us click and consume them in the first place, the ones we remember are the ones that triggered a change in us, even if it was just for that one moment.

The Importance of Being Emotional

Much as how mass and energy is equivalent – which is the original intent of Einstein’s equation – it appears that the capacity for your campaign to resonate emotionally is as important as the other three considerations put together.

It makes sense, really. Humans are emotionally-driven beings, and much of the change in behavior, thinking and action we as PR consultants are tasked to create, requires us to think about what inspires us as humans as well.

By Patson Goh